Lawyers have welcomed clarity and more certainty for victims of child abuse as the Scottish Government announces it intends to lift the limitation period for personal injury actions against abusers.
“The Scottish Government has taken the only fair and ethical decision on this issue,” said Gordon Dalyell, Scottish representative of not-for-profit campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). “The limitation period was entirely inappropriate for child abuse claims. This announcement finally acknowledges that it can take a long time for someone to recognise how the course of his or her life has been affected by the abuse endured as a child.”
APIL responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on removing the limit imposed on victims of child abuse bringing claims for compensation against their abusers. Victims had to make a claim within three years of either the abuse taking place or by his or her 19th birthday.
“Trauma and shame,as well as mistrust in the authorities, can hold back victims of neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse from pursuing their tormentors for recompense. For victims to be willing to go through the ordeal of proving their case and then to be told that they were not quick enough to act would have been devastating. It was often a barrier to justice.
“But the changes announced today will be implemented retrospectively, so in addition to those have not claimed before, those who previously dared to try to bring a case only to find themselves out of time will finally have their chance to bring it again,” said Mr Dalyell.